Don't want to start any crazy debates on who's the better maker. I' just want some ideas on what would be a good first handgun. I'm more interested in a semi-auto than a revolver. I don't know a Glock from a Colt, so dumb it down for me a little. ;D
Man, you guys are talking about me here!! ;D A good first weapon is something that is simple and reliable. For you and wife to use and feel comfortable with. Semi's are great but do bring more complexity to the debate. Revolvers are simple and reliable but don't have nearly the capacity. Do you ever intend to carry concealed? Glocks are nice simple and reliable. They have a passive safety, which is the trigger has a slide in the center that needs to be depressed in order for the gun to discharge (simply stated, you need to pull the trigger) Many semi autos have a safety that needs to be manually activated/deactivated. You can leave the gun loaded and off safe, ready to fire, but then you have to worry about children. (if you have them) Like Chris said, and I told you today, the best way to find out what you like is to shoot many different guns and narrow down the field. From there, then shoot what you get regularly and have anyone else that may have to use it shoot too so they can get used to it. You aren't always going to be around. I have everything from a .22 to a .45. You don't need a ton of take down power, but if you are using deadly force, it always looks better if the first shot is a killing shot. You will have to justify every shot you discharge, so if you only have to justify a single killing shot, it is MUCH easier than if you have to shoot 10 times before the threat is negated. I am not a fan of 9mm because I have seen the lack of power first hand. A .40 is more power and not much more kick. Long story short, Alex and Chris, make some time and we can get together and go shoot if nothing else for fun. It will also give you some ideas on what you like and what you don't.
I shot a deer in the neck with a 9mm from about 20 yards THREE times and it did not kill it. In fact, the bullets never exited from the neck. All three were against the spine. I would not trust my life with that power. (or lack there of) BUT, I would not want to be shot with ANY gun and having a gun is better than not.
Wow Chris, that was a great write up... Chris is right, choose what ever is most comfortable for you.
There are a LOT of reviews online as well to help you with choosing the feaures & functionality you are looking for. The big players in the semi-auto handguns are Glock, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, and Springfield. I looked at all of them and found the Smith & Wesson M&P fit my hand the best. (Came with 3 different backstraps to adjust the grip size). The springfield XDm is also a very nice piece IMHO.
9mm and .40 S&W are maybe the best rounds for starters. Rounds are cheap and plentiful.
One thing I would suggest if you choose a semi auto handgun, is get a snap-cap so you can practice dry firing the weapon. S/A handguns are very sensitive to all the wrist and finger motions that occur while pulling the trigger. To assist with a motionless trigger pull, balance a round on top of the barrel near the front sight, and make sure the round does not move at all while you dry fire the handgun (with the snap cap to protect the firing pin).
Hey Alex, if you are seriously looking, I would go to a place that rents handguns, just as an example since i know they so well, Blue Ridge Arsenal in Chantilly has about 50 handguns to rent. Each is $12, plus you have to buy there ammo for there guns, there $20/box. I would go in, tell them what you want, feel every major brand of handgun and see what feels best for you. When you find a style you like, then you need to decide on size (Full size, Mid size, compact, or sub-compact). What I do with most new shooters is tell them to rent 2 or 3 guns, in the same calibur that they are looking, get 2 boxes of ammo, and shoot each gun with 2 mags full to get a feel.
At some point, price comes into play, most people dont want to drop $800-1000 on a Sig, or $600-$1000 on a 1911, this is where Glocks, M&Ps and XD(M)'s come into play since there $500-$650 and are high quality.
Choosing the right size is very important, you cant go to small or too big and still be comfortable.
There is really no need to rent something. I have plenty of calibers, sizes and brands. H&k, Berretta, Glock, Sig, S&W, Ruger, Taurus, and Kimber. I may be forgetting some, but I have full size, compact and mid size in most of them too. They range from .22, .25, 9 mm, .40, .357(.38) and .45. Along with a tactical shotgun if you go that route. Foldable stock, pistol grip, extended mag etc.... If you buy some ammo, you are more than welcome to shoot what you want. Then, if you like the size of the gun and round and I don't have what you were thinking about, THEN go rent it.
I wasnt disputing what you had Chris, i was just giving a more generic answer to what i would say to someone, basically just shoot almost everything you can before you buy it, yeah will cost you a little bit in ammo (and rental fees if you go that route), but just do not go into a store, listen to a salesman aand take his advice (they always seem to push Glocks on people).
Well that choice depends on your shooting experience with handguns. If you don't have very much it may take you a bit of time and practice to get you accuracy to where it needs to be in that case I would go with a good 22Lr cheap to shoot and get practice in to improve accuracy. Now if cost of ammo is less of an issue or you have some handgun experience a good 9mm or 40 S&W form any manufacturer that you like the feel of. Now I am a 45 ACP fan but for novice shooter it could be a bit overwhelming
Well I got to shoot some handguns this morning before the rain started. The choices are very extensive. I only shot 9mm and 40 s&w. I liked the fact that the 40 had more power to it. But I was more acurate with a 9mm. Although the accuracy will clearly get better with more shooting. I liked the Sig's safety features the best and it felt good in my hands both the 40 and 9. I think I shot the Berreta 9 the most accurate followed by the Glock 9mm. I feel I shot the USP 40 the most accurate followed by the Sig. I like the feel of the trigger pull on the Glock the best out of all of the ones I shot. So to sum it up there are still alot of choices to be made before a purchase is considered. And I told my wife I would need to take her out once to see what is more comfortable for her. Chris Kann did a great job showing me everything about the guns and all their differences. It was a good learning experience. And can't wait to do it again. Oh and please don't ask me what model's I shot. I'm just happy to remember the maker's names at this point. LOL!